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DHS to Evaluate Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS)

The Department of Homeland Security's Science & Technology (S&T) Directorate will soon issue to industry a Request for Information (RFI) for existing Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems -- less than 55 lbs. and operating at under 400 ft. AGL -- that DHS S&T can evaluate in flight tests to construct and maintain a “knowledge/information database” on SUAS performance and mission utility in advance of expected FAA allowances for SUAS in the National Air Space (NAS).

Dr. John Appleby, Program Manager, Borders and Maritime Security Division within the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate (DHS S&T), notes that all/each SUAS will be run through a common/uniform rigorous test based on formulated homeland security / law enforcement needs. Dr. Appleby notes that DHS hopes to start the tests as early as September or October 2012 with a series of “flight weeks” held at the Fort Sill Army Post in Lawton, OK.

Vendors and aircraft will be evaluated one at a time... not together, so companies won’t face the risk of revealing sensitive information... and vendors will receive a "report card" on their system from DHS based on the assessment.

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